airport amenities

Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport opens outdoor patio

The downside of travel is that, sometimes, you can spend a full day long days inside airports and hotels and hardly ever step outside.

That’s why is such a big fan of airports with patios and outdoor observation decks.

Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) has a new one to check out.

The 5,770 square foot east terrace patio is located post-security on the mezzazine level between Gates 1-2.

To reach it, walk up the stairs or take the elevator to what the AUS airport calls its “hip terrace patio.”

The space is open 24 hours, is non-smoking and is located adjacent to the new Detla Sky Lounge.

The patio has a view of the 9,000-foot east runway and offers a great opportunity for plane spotting as well as a view of ramp and apron-level airport activities.

Austin can get very hot, so there’s an air-conditioned section of AUS’s patio.

In the outdoor section, patio is partially covered with sunshade blade panels to mimic the wings of an airplane.

The décor of the patio is modern-outdoor round tables, patio-furniture type seating and awnings that cover the family-style bench picnic tables.

Landscaping includes water-friendly native drought-tolerant plants.

And, for those of you into statistics: the airport tells us the patio flooring is covered with 428 wood pavers and 276 concrete pavers. Each concrete paver weighs 150 to 206 pounds and is 30 inches wide x 30 inches long and 2.25 inches thick.

Enjoy! And please send a photo of what you see when you’re enjoying this new outdoor space at AUS airport.

The comeback (maybe) of the airport observation deck

LaGuardia Airport’s former Observation Deck – courtesy Port Authority of NY and NY

My “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY this month looks at airport observation decks in the United States. Then and now.

The full story has more than 30 photos, so be sure to take a look over there, but here are some of my favorite photos shared by airports.

Observation Deck at Friendship International Airport – now Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
Observation Gallery at BWI Airport – now
Missoula International Airport. Courtesy Dan Neuman
Oklahoma’s City’s Will Rogers World Airport once had an Observation Tower
When the Central Terminal opened in 1954, the building included an Observation Deck – look for the railings on the upper level.
SFO’s brand new observation deck has plants, art and chaise lounges. Nice, right?

Where are your favorite airport observation decks?

Travel Tidbits: airport nursing pods, gyms and more

Welcome to Here are some travel tidbits for you.

Nursing pods for 4 NY/NJ airports

Paying close attention to legislation that requires large and medium airports to provide lactation areas in every terminal by October 2020, the Port Authority of NY/NJ has upgraded the Mamava lacation pods in its four commercial airports.

The new, post-security nursing facilities are larger versions of the previous pods and include 12 at JFK, nine at Newark Liberty International Airport, six at LaGuardia Airport, and one at New York Stewart International Airport.

More in-airport gyms on the way

ROAM Fitness, which has an in-airport gym at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, has a contract to open a second location this summer at San Francisco International Airport Terminal 2 in collaboration with XpresSpa.

More app-powered gate-delivery meals on the way

At Your Gate, which currently provides app-powered gate delivered meals at five airports – San Diego International Airport, Newark International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, JFK T2 and Minneapolis Int’l Airport – will soon add Portland International Airport as its sixth location.

And Airport Sherpa, which currently offers a similar app-powered gate delivery service for meals at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, has inked a deal with airport restaurateur HMSHost to offer on-demand mobile ordering and food delivery at all the North American airports where HMSHost operates. No word yet on the timetable for the roll-out beyond BWI, only that the plan is to “quickly introduce the technology with strategic airport partners throughout the United States,” says HMSHost.

Good work, AtYourGate

As the tweet above notes, the in-airport gate delivery app service called AtYourGate is marking the one-year anniversary of its debut at San Diego International Airport with a $5 off promo (AYGFREE), plus free delivery.

The promo code is good for use on Tuesday, February 5 in all the airports AtYourGate now serves.

Since its debut at SAN a year ago, AtYourGate has expanded its service beyond SAN to Newark Liberty International Airport (Terminals A and B, and the pre-security area of Terminal C), LaGuardia Airport (Terminal B), JFK Airport (Terminal 7) and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

How does AtYourGate work?

Say you (or you and your kids) go through the security checkpoint and find a nice spot to sit by the window near your gate.

Rather than gather up all your things to go get something to eat, AtYourGate lets you open an app, check menus of restaurants in your terminal and (nice touch) in others.

When you make your choices, the app lets you place your order on your phone. Someone picks up the order and delivers it to you where you’re sitting.

In most of the airports they serve, AtYourGate will also delivery non-food items, such as neck pillows and phone chargers as well.

There’s a small delivery charge (waived on Feb 5), but otherwise you’re paying the posted menu prices. You’re also getting the convenience of not having to roam the terminals. And it means you’re not limited to the options in the concourse or terminal you happen to be leaving from.

I’ve been covering AtYourGate since before its roll-out. Last week I walked Newark Airport Terminals 1 and 2 with a representative of AtYourGate (Thank-you, Mike, for your time) and learned some bonus details about how the service operates. And I got to see the team in action.

A few things I learned:

*Orders you make via the AtYourGate app go to the front of the line at the concessions you’re ordering from.

*The AtYourGate delivery team is dispatched by app as well and is ready to grab the order the moment it is ready so they can hustle it over to you in an insulated bag.

*Because TSA employees have learned how great it is to get a meal delivered to where you are in the airport, the AtYourGate employees get VIP treatment at the security checkpoints.

*I followed along for a couple of deliveries between terminals and had to hustle to keep up with the delivery people. AtYourGate promises delivery within a certain timeframe, so the hustle wasn’t to impress me.

Travel tidbits to start 2019

Easing into 2019 by catching up on some newsy item.

Last week United Airlines announced it was bringing back the sweet stroopwaffel on flights.

Besides being a nice sweet snack to have with a cup of coffee, the stroopwafel offers passengers something to do: United tells passengers to warm up the stroopwafel by taking it out of the package and setting it on top of their coffee.

On New Year’s eve, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport offered travelers a silent disco in the bag claim area.

Had we known this was on the agenda, the airport disco would have made our list of Best Airport Amenities of 2018.

Going forward, the folks at 10Best have teamed up with Airport Experience News (AXN) to ask travelers to weigh in on some of the best airport amenites in North America.

Categories include Best Airport Bar, Best Airport for Dining, Best Airport for Shopping, Best Airport for Local/Regional Dining – and more.

Cast your vote – once a day through January 28 – here.

Here at we have some favorite airports and airport amenities, but we’re always on the lookout for airport offerings that are brand new.

What amenities do you hope to see at airports in 2019? Let us know!